Entercom Required to Divest Three Denver Radio Stations as Part of Lincoln Acquisition
Settlement Preserves Competition That Benefits Radio Advertisers
Entercom Communications Corp. (Entercom) will be required to divest three radio stations in Denver, in order to proceed with its acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media Company (Lincoln). Without these divestitures, the transaction would have resulted in higher prices and a reduced quality of service to purchasers of English-language radio advertising in Denver.
“Entercom and Lincoln own some of the most highly rated radio stations in Denver, and advertisers targeting radio listeners in Denver have benefitted from competition between them,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “These divestures will preserve that competitive dynamic.”
The Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to block the proposed acquisition. At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit. According to the complaint, the proposed merger would have eliminated the head-to-head competition that currently exists between Entercom’s and Lincoln’s radio stations for the business of local and national companies that advertise to English-language listeners on radio stations in Denver. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Entercom has agreed to divest three stations in Denver to a department-approved buyer.
Entercom is incorporated in Pennsylvania and headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Lincoln is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Lincoln National Corp. Lincoln is organized under the laws of North Carolina, and headquartered in Atlanta. Both Entercom and Lincoln operate broadcast radio stations in various metropolitan areas throughout the United States.
As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register. Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to David Kully, Chief, Litigation III Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Fourth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20530. At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the final judgment upon a finding that it serves the public interest.